Is it ok that our chickens roost on the rafter of their coop instead of inside on the roost bars?

goletachickens

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
16
19
23
Goleta CA
We've got a coop that's about 1.5m (height) x1m (width) x2.5m (length) (4x3x8). On top taking up about half of the top there's an enclosed roost box, with 2 nesting boxes attached. And there's 1 rafter across the other half of the top. The hens roost on that rafter instead of inside the roosting box. As they got bigger, we put another "rafter" across the top too, so they wouldn't spend all night kicking each other off the one rafter.

My questions are:
1) Should we try to force them into the roosting box?
2) When it comes time for them to lay eggs, ideally we want them to lay eggs in the nesting boxes, not just any old place in their run. Will they automatically do that? Or is there some training needed?

Thanks for any thoughts. I can post pictures if that will make it easier to understand.
Chris
 

floppysquirrel04

Songster
Jul 24, 2019
640
994
212
Northern Ca
What is a roosting box?? I would let them roost on the rafters if they want. Usually if you put Easter eggs or ceramic eggs in the box they will learn on their own to lay in there, but it might take them a little while. For first little while of them laying they will just drop it, but will learn quickly to lay in the box.
 

EmilyRobb

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 12, 2020
118
252
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Southwestern Manitoba
@goletachickens

Q: Should we try to force them into the roosting box?
A: Chickens will always want to go either where they can be nice and high up or where they feel safe for sleeping. If they have the option to go up into rafters then they surely will. If the chickens are doing no harm sleeping in the rafters, then just let them be and they'll be alright. Just make sure that they're getting up there without hitting the roof or the walls as that may hurt them or damage their wings, especially if they have to fly a little to get up. If you want them to use the roosting area, then try to block off access to the rafters.

Q: When it comes time for them to lay eggs, ideally we want them to lay eggs in the nesting boxes, not just any old place in their run. Will they automatically do that? Or is there some training needed?
A: When the time is right, the hormones and instincts of a hen will kick in and she'll seek out a cozy and safe place to lay her eggs. If nesting boxes are set up, she'll make her way to them usually without intervention or help. If other areas exist, such as secluded corners or "crawl space" underneath buildings, the hen may find that appealing as well so just be mindful of any areas like that. You could try putting decoy eggs or golf balls in the nesting boxes to entice them when it's time to lay, but nature should take its course and all should be well.
 

goletachickens

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
16
19
23
Goleta CA
What is a roosting box?? I would let them roost on the rafters if they want. Usually if you put Easter eggs or ceramic eggs in the box they will learn on their own to lay in there, but it might take them a little while. For first little while of them laying they will just drop it, but will learn quickly to lay in the box.

I'm attaching some photos... Hopefully they help make sense? Not sure what the area where the chickens are intended to roost is called?
 

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  • Roosting box 2020-06-08.jpg
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goletachickens

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
16
19
23
Goleta CA
@goletachickens

Q: Should we try to force them into the roosting box?
A: Chickens will always want to go either where they can be nice and high up or where they feel safe for sleeping. If they have the option to go up into rafters then they surely will. If the chickens are doing no harm sleeping in the rafters, then just let them be and they'll be alright. Just make sure that they're getting up there without hitting the roof or the walls as that may hurt them or damage their wings, especially if they have to fly a little to get up. If you want them to use the roosting area, then try to block off access to the rafters.

Q: When it comes time for them to lay eggs, ideally we want them to lay eggs in the nesting boxes, not just any old place in their run. Will they automatically do that? Or is there some training needed?
A: When the time is right, the hormones and instincts of a hen will kick in and she'll seek out a cozy and safe place to lay her eggs. If nesting boxes are set up, she'll make her way to them usually without intervention or help. If other areas exist, such as secluded corners or "crawl space" underneath buildings, the hen may find that appealing as well so just be mindful of any areas like that. You could try putting decoy eggs or golf balls in the nesting boxes to entice them when it's time to lay, but nature should take its course and all should be well.

Thank you. That settles my mind significantly. They are about 13 weeks old, so probably a bit more than a month before they will start laying I guess? But I'll put some decoy eggs in the nesting boxes now. Can't hurt I guess.
 

EmilyRobb

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 12, 2020
118
252
121
Southwestern Manitoba
@goletachickens breed will also determine when they'll start laying. My bantam cochins didn't start laying until 7 months of age, and my standard cochins took 9 months. On the other hand, wyandotte and sussex hens will probably start laying at 6 months of age, if not less
 

goletachickens

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
16
19
23
Goleta CA
@goletachickens breed will also determine when they'll start laying. My bantam cochins didn't start laying until 7 months of age, and my standard cochins took 9 months. On the other hand, wyandotte and sussex hens will probably start laying at 6 months of age, if not less
Thanks good tips. As a total newbie, what is the difference between a standard and a bantam cochin? Size? Other?
 

EmilyRobb

Songster
Premium Feather Member
May 12, 2020
118
252
121
Southwestern Manitoba
@goletachickens bantam chickens are merely just miniature versions of regular chickens, as a miniature horse is to a regular horse. Many breeds have a bantam version, like brahmas, wyandottes, Rhode Island reds, and many other varieties. Cochins in general are slow to develop, but the bantams will generally develop a little quicker than standards because there's less chicken to develop really. Egg size also varies, where the general rule of thumb in baking is to use 3 bantam eggs for every 2 regular/standard eggs.

My bantams weigh around 2lbs each, where my standards are upwards of 10lbs. The standards also have a lot more meat, and they don't fly to well and need ramps for almost everything. The bantams have like no meat, and they can fly pretty well up to perches and around thr place.

Additionally, I find that my bantams are a little more high strung in comparison to my standards. It doesn't seem to be an observation listed elsewhere, but it's noticable with my flocks. Bantams and standards can also be interbred to create a medium-sized bird.
 

MANNA-PRO

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